For their research work on detecting pollutants and optimizing cleaning operations in photovoltaic applications in deserts and desert-like regions in North Africa, Prof. Dr. Ralph Gottschalg from the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP) in Halle (Saale) and Prof. Dr. Ahmed Alami Merrouni from the Mohammed First University in Marocco have received the »German-African Innovation Incentive Award«.
The Federal Education Ministry awarded the »German-African Innovation Incentive Award GAIIA« in 2020 for the second time. It recognized innovative projects resulting from German-African collaboration. Six male and female scientists from Ghana, Marocco, South Africa, Tunisia, Ugand,a and their German cooperation partners received the award for their research work’s outstanding results and strong utilization potential. The cooperation projects, sponsored by prize money amounting to 150,000 Euro, are all focused on an application-oriented subject, resulting in sustainable and innovative solutions to challenges in the African partners‘ countries. The winners were selected from among 46 applications by a top-ranking jury made up of German and African experts.
The Fraunhofer CSP, the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences and the Mohammed First University were recognized for the »SoDeCo« project, which addressed the development of a pollution recognition sensor for photovoltaic systems. Energy generation by means of photovoltaic systems is very attractive in the North African regions thanks to the abundant sunlight. In these desert and desert-like regions, however, dust deposits on the modules – known as »soiling« - reduces energy yield significantly. The sensor is expected to offer new findings on the ratio of energy yield reduction as a function of pollution and the development of improved cleaning strategies to optimize green electricity production in North Africa and to make electricity production cheaper. The partners intend to use the results obtained from research to establish a sustainable and product-oriented innovation structure.
»I am so happy to receive this award. But I also want to acknowledge and appreciate the commitment of my colleagues and research partners Klemens Ilse and David Dassler from the Fraunhofer CSP who kicked off our cooperation with the Mohammed First University. Because of our work together, it is now possible to gain new insight into very complex pollution phenomena in photovoltaic modules that are also greatly influenced by their location, and to quantify local pollution rates for the development of optimal cleaning strategies and methods. In this way, the project significantly contributes to providing reliable power delivery in Marocco and North Africa at a reasonable cost and is a real benefit for the population«, said Prof. Dr. Ralph Gottschalg, Head of the Fraunhofer CSP.